Williston School Board holds executive session over recent superintendent actions

(Williston School Board)
Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 3:15 PM CDT
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WILLISTON, N.D. - Tensions appear to be flaring between the Williston Basin School District Board and Superintendent Dr. Jeff Thake, which has led to an executive board meeting where the board received legal advice and guidance on potential negotiations with Thake.

Thake, who has been superintendent of Williston Public Schools District #1 and now District #7, was confronted by board member John Kasmer last week, who told Thake that, “it would be a tough road for him,” in light of the board learning of discrepancies related to finances in accounts in District 1.

Since then, Thake has reportedly “Packed his office.” Board member Sarah Williams called it “inappropriate.”

During the open portion of the meeting, Board President Chris Jundt confirmed that Thake has applied to other districts and may be a finalist for some locations. He said Thake is concerned about the upcoming evaluation process next month.

Following the meeting, Jundt said in a statement that, quote: “Dr. Thake is currently under contract with the district thru June 30, 2022.  The School Board did not take any formal action during Executive Session or in open session today and kept its discussion limited to those items raised by Dr. Thake that need to be discussed with counsel and direction from the school district attorney.”

Officials with the Williston Education Association are confused at the move and want to know why this is happening before an audit is conducted and before Thake has had his annual evaluation.

In a statement, WEA president Eric Rooke says: “It seems very strange that the board is meeting with an attorney about negotiations for a contract that doesn’t expire until June of 2022.”

Thake has not filed a resignation letter to the board.

Details of the audit for District 1 will be discussed at a future school board meeting. Jundt says there has not been a decision to conduct a forensic audit at this time.

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